Bollywood yet to hit highest musical note


By Priyanka Khanna

New Delhi, (IANS) With less than four months left, the Hindi film music trade is still waiting to hit its highest musical note this year and is banking heavily on "Om Shanti Om" and "Saawariya" to deliver its "Kajrare"-like hit of the year.

Though the months gone by have had their fair share of musical successes but the kind of mega-hit that becomes a money-spinner for the many formal and informal affiliated businesses is still awaited.

Some of the hits of the year have been "Shootout At Lokhandwala" by Anand Raj Anand that could be heard "Ae Ganpat" booming from almost every car across the metros. "Guru" by A.R. Rahman that created some foot-tapping numbers in the Mani Ratnam flick, especially 'Barso re', and Mallika's sexy moves in 'mayya mayya'.
In "Salaam-E-Ishq" Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music was this biggie's leading saviour when the movie shockingly crashed at the box office. "Honeymoon Travels PVT. LTD." With 'Sajnaji vaari vaari' by Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani sent the whole nation on to the dance floor.

Ilaiyaraaja's score in "Cheeni Kum" left a sweet taste in the mouth. Himesh Reshamiyya's "Namaste London", "Shakalaka Boom Boom", "Apne" and "Aap Ka Suroor" were other successes this year.

Some notable works came in "Awarapan" by Pritam Chakraborty and "The Train" by music director Mithoon. Though "Ta Ra Rum Pum" was a box-office dud, the music of the film was lapped up by young ones and their parents.

Understandably, expectations from Shah Rukh Khan's true-blue Bollywood potboiler - "Om Shanti Om" - are sky hit. The second directorial venture for Farah Khan, who has choreographed some of Hindi filmdom's most famous song and dance routines, is a quintessential masala flick.

Much like Farah's directorial debut - "Main Hoon Na" - it will be replete with all the archetypical elements that make Bollywood films unique and give them a mass appeal. As the film travels many eras variety in the soundtrack was expected.

Moreover, both Farah and Shah Rukh are well aware of the importance of music in a Bollywood movie. And that must have been their brief to Vishal-Shekhar and Javed Akhtar when they were roped in for the unenviable task.

At the release of the film's music this week, it became aptly clear that they have come up with very unique tracks. The critics have given them the thumbs up. Vishal-Shekhar have especially got kudos for an unusual, soulful "Aankhon Mein Teri" rendered beautifully by versatile singer K.K.

And the mandatory dance number that reportedly features Shah Rukh flaunting his newly acquired six-pack abs is titled "Dard-E-Disco". The jump-on-the-dance-floor number with a Persian touch is set to dominate every DJs console.

But the number that is likely to climb music charts fastest is the melodious "Deewangi Deewangi". All other songs bring back memories of bygone times. The album does not have any dull moment.

Farah, who is credited for revolutionizing Hindi film dance routines, has shown once again that is very near to perfecting the art of reaching out to the masses and the classes. Critics say the album is a fine balancing act and before long the public's verdict will be out too.

This week also witnessed the music launch of "Saawariya" by a director who has perhaps one of the best musical ears in the industry - Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

The music launch was overshadowed by the introduction of two new entrants in the industry from illustrious film families - Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor.

The music by Monty Sharma is beautifully composed and arranged by critics feel that it doesn't have mass appeal. India's music industry is nonetheless hoping that both "Om Shanti Om" and "Saawariya" are musical hits.

The traditional music distributors in India have been facing tough competition from digital revolution. Partly helped by illegitimate downloads and partly because it has become an outright fad, mobile music is set to overtake legal conventional music in India in the next few months, industry watchers say.

According to the Cellular Operators' Association of India, the size of the mobile music industry, which is about $115 million, now, is set to touch $170 million by this yearend, exceeding revenues of the conventional music industry like compact disks and audiocassettes by about $5 million.

The local music industry does not seem to be quite happy with the proliferation of digital music. Local music companies and content owners complain that distributors (the mobile phone operators and companies like Soundbuzz that distributes digital music, who control the network and the audience) walk away with a bigger portion of the revenues leaving the content providers with little, media reports say.

"For a polyphonic ring tone, the telecom operators and the distributors walk away with 60 percent of the revenue while the balance is split between the other middle men and the content owner," Rajiv Hiranandani, of mobile mobile2win, a digital music content owner, was quoted as saying. Illegitimate downloads is the other challenge.

The one thing that is needed for making everyone happy is a hit like "Kajrare".